Ottawa is following Queen’s Park lead in allowing more time for locked-down remote Indigenous communities to express their comments and concerns on the potential impact of mining in the Far North.
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) is extending the commenting period beyond the original Jan. 21 deadline to allow the public, Indigenous communities and other organizations to provide input on shaping the terms of reference surrounding the federal Regional Assessment of the Ring of Fire area in the James Bay region.
No new deadline for taking comments has yet been posted on the IAAC’s project home page. Due to pandemic-related meeting and travel restrictions, “the agency will be providing further opportunities to contribute to the planning of the Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire area, including to the terms of reference,” the IAAC said in an email to Northern Ontario Business.
“The January 21, 2021 deadline will therefore be revised to a later date once the agency has a better understanding of Indigenous communities’ ability to participate in this part of the process.”
With all the remote communities having travel bans with no face-to-face meetings allowed and no possibility of even meeting with band members, First Nations have demanded that there be a pause in both the provincial and federal environment assessment processes on the access and supply roads, and the region-wide implications of development in this greenfield area.